I love spending Saturday mornings with a cup of tea listening to the radio. That's how I heard an excellent program on CBC called Day 6 recently. In 30 minutes it covered diverse aspects of peace, from a journalist sharing how to distill the real versus propoganda in the siege of Aleppo, to a mother leaving a gang to give her unborn child a better life, to ways Chicago mirrors a war zone, with over 4,000 gunshot wounds resulting in over 700 deaths in 2016 alone. The host interviewed a former high school principal who helps strengthen Chicago's communities to make a longterm difference. When Liz Dozier started speaking about a theatre program called Storycatchers, she captured my full attention. At first she thought it a paltry defense against the real life challenges youth in detention face, but now she's an ardent advocate and financial supporter. Here's why.
After leaving the educational system, Liz started managing Chicago Beyond, which invests in healthy communities. StoryCatchers intervenes in detention centres in Illinois, letting youth express their trauma. Once they are released, they support them with jobs and fulfilling their hopes for good careers. "That release of their trauma has changed lives," Liz shared. "I've seen this first hand. I believe in the power of our communities. There are pople working on this every single day. I am hopeful."
Over 4000 people were shot in Chicago in 2016. The violence didn't start overnight, and nor will the change. The longterm deficits of poor education, poverty, gun proliferation, children feeling disconnected from themselves and community, youth arrests, violence and injustice have seen ... 745 people die so far this year, and a day without murders hasn't occurred since Feb 2015.
God forgive us for hurting each other so badly! We need to care for each other, starting with the basics — the right to life.